An owl was seen raising an egg of a wood duck. And it's scientifically known that wood ducks happen to lay their eggs in other bird's nest.
A wildlife photographer and artist, Laurie Wolf, came across a tender sight which was quite surprising and is not seen normally: An owl raising a duckling in a nesting box.
Laurie Wolf, of Jupiter, Florida, says she saw an Eastern screech owl that was living inside a nest box she has in her backyard at home.
Some days later, she noticed a fluffy thing in that nest box which she thought to be a baby owl. That baby owl was residing with her mom in the nesting box.
But as she keenly noticed the baby, she discovered that it was a baby duckling poking her head out from the nest and having yellow and black feathers.
That was found out to be a wood duck. And as National Geographic writes: Wood ducks have been known for living with screech owls.
Wolf was so surprised by her finding, and she reached National Geographic and spoke to them about what she had found.
"The two of them were just sitting there side by side. It’s not believable. It’s not believable to me to this day," she said.
Wolf contacted with a raptor expert and he said that the duckling could be in danger since some owls eat ducks. From there, Wolf was advised to try to catch the duckling, as a wildlife sanctuary offered to take care of the little animal. But as Unilad writes that, Laurie wolf was unable to do so.
"A bit later, the baby duck was in the hole by itself, calling for the parents. We believe they heard each other because it suddenly left the box and made a beeline for the back fence and our neighbour’s pond where the woodies have been hanging out."
"Also we had seen a female wood duck – about three or four weeks ago, remove a duck egg from a box that had been raided by something, and fly off toward this box with it."
"We lost it in the trees and didn’t want to disturb it. But we believe she put it in this box and the owl hatched it."
About this, National Geographic says that these wood ducks are brood parasites and they lay eggs in the foreign nest. And those nests could be of other prey birds like American Kestrel.
Artuso, of Bird Studies Canada in Manitoba says, that wood ducks do this and there also exists a scientific reason behind this.
“You could think of it as not keeping all your eggs in one basket. If you spread your eggs out, then your chances of passing on your genes are increased slightly, especially if you lose your own eggs to a predator.”
So according to Christian Artuso, its no surprise. He told National Geographic that scientists know this but none of us knows the frequency that how often it happens.
Shortly after discovering this odd pairing, the wood duckling leapt out of the hole and made a run toward a nearby pond. Hopefully, it found some other ducks and will live happily ever after!
Check out Laurie Wolf's art on her personal website.